Supt. Hofmeister 'heartbroken' following arrest of 3 Perry school employees

Oklahoma's Superintendent of Public Instruction said she was "heartbroken" after three school employees were arrested in relation to sexual abuse.

On Thursday, Perry Upper Elementary School principal Kenda Lyn Miller, 51, and math teacher Jeffrey Sullins, 51, both turned themselves into police for failing to report accusations of sexual abuse. Police reports show that several students reported teaching assistant Arnold Cowen, 85, had inappropriately touched them. Both Miller and Sullins are accused of being notified of the accusations but dismissing them.

“This situation in Perry is a stark reminder to anyone who works in our schools that it is unconscionable to say nothing or look the other way when there is an allegation of an adult victimizing a child," Hofmeister said in a statement.

Hofmeister also stated that it is not the responsibility of school employees to determine the validity of a claim.

"Regardless of where it originates. Swift and proper reporting of suspected inappropriate behavior is vital," Hofmeister said. "Parents surrender their children to our schools with the presumption they will be safe from harm. I am heartbroken for the students and families in Perry whose trust in their local school has been shaken.“

Cowen was charged with 21 counts of lewd or indecent acts with a child Feb. 15. Sullins and Miller both face misdemeanor counts of failure to promptly report child abuse or neglect.